Back when I was just a kid, a new invention was the talk of the town and totally changed the way that the people enjoy movies. It was the invention and mass production of the Video Cassette Recorder. When it first came out, they were a bit clunky and came in two formats; VHS and BetaMax. My mother purchased a Beta machine first and sent me down to the local grocery store on my bike to rent our first movie that she had put on hold. While that movie was less than captivating, the concept of being able to watch a movie at home without waiting for it to air on the local television stations was truly a revolutionary idea.
Not too long after VCRs became widely available and the price dropped, nearly everyone had more control over what they could choose to watch on any given day of the week. While the Beta machines quickly fell out of favor, the videotape concept gave rise to a whole new industry: the video store.
It became a ritual for countless American families to pop out to the local video store and make the family selections for the weekend and upcoming week. For a nominal fee one could sign-up for a membership and could rent any movie available in the store’s catalogue. As a result, the number of stores and existing retailers that got on the rental bandwagon escalated until there was an estimated 70,000 outlets throughout the country.
Part of the fun of these weekly trips to the video store was the ability to simply browse the titles, handle the boxes and take time reviewing one’s choices. Along with the variety of choices, there was the opportunity to interact with other customers and discuss new releases with the store employees to see which ones were more popular.
Then, with the advent of the internet and the subsequent rise in streaming ability, the concept of watching movies at home without going out had an appeal for many. Before the streaming companies, video stores often had to wait several months before the movie companies would release a movie for renting. Streaming changed that time table as more and more titles were becoming available in a short period of time.
Along with the ability to stream a movie for a low monthly fee for a subscription service, more and more companies started developing their own shows, which would be available as soon as the short season would finish taping. Sadly, with all of this instant gratification, people no longer saw the need to go to the stores that were once such a part of family life.
Recently, Blockbuster Video, one of the biggest names in the video store business, closed all but one of its existing stores. It marks the end of a short but meaningful era when people were given more freedom to choose their entertainment and support a local business at the same time.
Writer Bio: Angela Mose
I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years. I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia. A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.